Tomato Lobster Pasta

_MG_6657Though autumn in New York City is reportedly the best time of the year, I can't exactly say that I'm happy about summer ending. Beachgoing, sipping cold rosé, picnics outside, bonfires, all the peaches I can manage to eat...summer is my favorite. So I'm soaking up the last few weeks of warm days as much as possible, and when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. It  helped that lobster was on sale (and I only needed one lobster for four very large servings). But it did mean that I had to kill it–but I'm happy to say, there was minimal screaming and Ari only helped a little bit._MG_6654 _MG_6652

That said, if you aren't so inclined to kill a lobster of your own, you can easily use shrimp instead–just peel and devein, and throw in the pan with tomatoes to quickly cook._MG_6665

In any case, hope you are all enjoying the last week of summer to the fullest, and have a wonderful long weekend! Any big plans for Labor Day?_MG_6663

Tomato Lobster Pasta (adapted from Bon Appétit)

12 ounces spaghetti

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large shallot, finely chopped

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound cherry and/or Sun Gold 
 tomatoes, halved

1  lobster, boiled (approximately 12 minutes), shelled, and picked through 
(or 1 lb. cooked large shrimp)

Freshly ground black pepper

Zest from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus additional lemon wedges (for serving)

Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

 

Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shallot and red pepper flakes, stirring often, until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until tomatoes are soft and juicy, 5–8 minutes.

 

Add lobster meat to skillet and toss to coat. Add pasta and ½ cup reserved pasta cooking liquid; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing constantly and adding more reserved pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce thickens and coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and top with zest.

 

Serve pasta with lemon wedges alongside for squeezing over (and plenty of crusty bread for soaking up the sauce).

Butternut Squash Agnoletti with Curry Emulsion

_MG_5484I have a confession to make: I met Thomas Keller for a very brief moment a few months ago I was completely starstruck. He was, of course, just as charismatic as you might imagine (and taller than I had pictured), and of course, passionate about his cooking. I remember getting the French Laundry Cookbook from the library when I was in high school, poring over the pictures and marveling at the recipes. _MG_5476It was astonishing that anyone could take the time to make all of the separate components for just one dish at the French Laundry – but the part I loved the most was that Chef Keller didn't dumb anything down for the home cook, like many cookbooks do: if you wanted to make Oysters and Pearls like they have at the French Laundry, then damn it, you were going to have the same recipe the trained cooks have there. It might not look or taste exactly the same, but if Thomas Keller thinks you can do it, then I think that's a pretty good endorsement._MG_5488

Needless to say, I'm kind of obsessed with anything Keller-related and every single thing I have made from the Ad Hoc Cookbook has been delicious. So when I came across a recipe on Epicurious for Fava Bean Agnoletti with Curry Emulsion, I knew I had to try it out, particularly since I had been wanting to try my hand at a filled pasta for a while as well. I swapped the fava beans for a more winter-appropriate roasted butternut squash, and I have to say that this might be my favorite pasta sauce ever. Surprisingly simple, and yet with a  complexity that complements the creamy pasta perfectly. You could, of course, make the sauce to use with store-bought pasta, but if you have a couple of extra hours on a weekend I truly think it's worth the effort. And you don't want to let Thomas Keller down, do you?_MG_5663

 

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Butternut Squash Ravioli with Curry Emulsion (adapted from Epicurious)

Filling:

2 cups roasted butternut squash 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste 1/2 recipe Pasta Dough (I included the link as the instructions are very thorough)

Curry Emulsion

2 teaspoons curry powder 2 tablespoons chopped shallots 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable stock, chicken stock or water 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup crème fraîche 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup arugula

For filling:

Place the squash, cheese and olive oil in a food processor. Blend until smooth and season well with salt and pepper, then refrigerate the mixture until it is cool, or for up to 2 days.

Roll out the dough and fill the agnolotti according to the To Fill Agnolotti instructions. You should have approximately 48 agnolotti.

To complete: For the curry emulsion, toast the curry powder in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is fragrant. Stir in the shallots and heat for another minute. Add the 3/4 cup stock, the cream and crème fraîche, bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup. Swirl in the butter. When the butter is melted, transfer the sauce to a blender. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons stock and blend for 30 seconds to emulsify the mixture. Season with salt and pepper and strain into a wide pan.

Meanwhile, cook the agnolotti in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.

Drain the agnolotti, add the agnolotti and arugula to the curry emulsion, and toss over low heat to coat with sauce. Serve immediately.

Orecchiette with Brown Butter, Sausage and Kale

_MG_5640You know those restaurants where, no matter what mood you are in, it makes everything a little better? Where the food isn't too fancy, but delicious and comforting every time, and where you know you'll be treated well. For me, that restaurant is Frankie's 457 in Brooklyn. Of course, it helps that they have the loveliest garden in the five boroughs, with an outdoor bar and string lights (I'm always a sucker for string lights) that makes you feel like you have escaped the city to a magical place. Needless to say, it's one of my favorite restaurants and the one thing we order from there every single time is orecchiette with spicy sausage and broccoli rabe. _MG_5653It's always the perfect combination of greens, buttery pasta and spicy pork sausage – and last week, I realized it probably wouldn't be so difficult to make at home. (Spoiler: it's not – in fact, it might be mine and Ari's new favorite weeknight meal). I swapped the broccoli rabe for kale since that was all my grocery store had, and I think that it makes an excellent substitute – but you could just as easily stick with rabe, or try another hearty green like collards or Swiss chard._MG_5643

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Orecchiette with Brown Butter, Sausage and Kale (adapted from Mario Batali, serves 4-6)

1 lb orecchiette

4 tablespoons butter

1 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed

1/2 bunch kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 cup grated Pecorino cheese, plus more for garnish

In a large pan, bring salted water to boil. Once boiling, cook pasta according to box instructions until al dente, then drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Cook until it starts to brown and smells a little nutty, 5-7 minutes. Pour all but about 1 tablespoon into a small bowl. Return pan to heat, and add sausage. Cook until brown, breaking it up with a spoon as you go, about 8 minutes. Add kale and red pepper flakes to pan, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook until wilted, 5-7 minutes, covering if necessary.

Add pasta to sausage and greens, then add pasta water, reserved butter and Pecorino and toss to coat. Serve immediately with additional Pecorino and red pepper flakes.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown-Butter Balsamic Sauce

I'm going to guess that most of you have your Thanksgiving meals all planned out by now. Turkey is defrosting, breadcrumbs are drying for stuffing, and pies are made. (I'm not cooking, so actually none of the above is true for me). If, however, you do not -- or you would like an excellent vegetarian entrée for your Thanksgiving (or other fall) meal, I would highly recommend these gnocchi. I actually found this recipe on Pinterest, which usually I shy away from (I've seen far too many of those "Pinterest Fail" pictures, which while hilarious, are usually not what I look for in a recipe), but when I saw that this recipe was from the amazing Aida Mollenkamp, I knew it would be good. And it doesn't fail to disappoint. I obviously love gnocchi in all forms, and you pretty much only have to mention the words "brown butter" to guarantee that I will want to try it.

On another note, happy Thanksgiving to you all! I hope you all have plans to eat and hang out with family and friends and eat your weight in turkey and mashed potatoes on this most wonderful of holidays. Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown-Butter Balsamic Sauce (adapted from aidamollenkamp.com)

For the gnocchi:

3  sweet potatoes (yams), halved lengthwise 1 Russet potato, halved lengthwise 1 tablespoon olive oil Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 1 egg, lightly beaten 2tablespoons honey 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 1/2 to 2 cups all purpose or white whole wheat flour

For the sauce:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter 12 to 15 fresh sage leaves 2 shallots, quartered and thinly sliced 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 cups arugula, spinach, or chard Freshly shaved parmesan, for garnish Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish

Instructions

For the gnocchi:

(Gnocchi can be made through this step up to 1 month ahead. To store, place on a flat surface and freeze until frozen through. Transfer to an airtight container and keep frozen up to 1 month before using.)

Heat an oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, season with a few good pinches of salt and a few cranks of pepper, place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast until fork tender, about 30 minutes.

Set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop flesh out of skins then pass flesh through a potato ricer (or mash with back of a fork) and stir in egg and honey. Mix in salt and flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms. Taste and add additional salt, as needed. You’ve added flour when you touch the back of the dough and it is damp but not sticking to your hand.

Turn dough out onto floured surface and shape into a square. Divide into 16 equal pieces. Rolling between palms and floured work surface, form each piece into a rope (about 1/2 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky. However, don’t add too much additional flour as too much will make for heavy gnocchi. Cut each rope into 1/2 -inch pieces.

Bring large pot of heavily salted water to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, simmer gnocchi until tender and they begin to rise to the surface, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer gnocchi to clean rimmed baking sheet. Reserve 1/2 cups of pasta cooking water and drain the rest.

For the sauce:

This is enough sauce for half of the gnocchi. If you want to cook off all the gnocchi, go ahead and double the recipe. Just a note that I’d recommend you make this sauce through twice as doing twice this amount in one pan would be unwieldy.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it foams, add sage and cook until crisp and fragrant.  Add shallot and, watching it carefully and stirring often,  allow the milk solids begin to brown and the butter becomes fragrant and nutty. Scrape along the bottom to prevent the solids from sticking and burning.

When the butter is brown, immediately remove from heat, and carefully stir in the vinegar (it may sting your eyes). Stir in gnocchi and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water, return to heat, and boil until sauce is thickened, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the arugula, spinach, or chard until greens are wilted. Add a lot of freshly ground black pepper, taste for seasoning and finish with additional pasta water, salt, black pepper, and freshly shaved parmesan.

$10 Mondays: Tagliatelle with Asparagus Pesto

If you haven't noticed, I really like asparagus. I also can't wait for the abundance of spring vegetables at the farmer's market that will hopefully show up in the next few weeks (I picked up some leeks this weekend, so we're getting there!) I am also a really big fan of pesto and will happily make it with anything green I might have lying around. For this light pasta, I combined my two loves into one springy dish, hoping for more of those 70 degree days we had last week. If you haven't made pasta by hand, I might recommend watching a tutorial, many of which can be found on youtube. I'll try to be detailed in my instructions, but since I learned from an Italian woman who taught more by sight than written instructions, I can't promise that these are the best. Tagliatelle with Asparagus Pesto

For the pasta:

2 eggs

2 cups flour, divided

For the pesto:

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4-1/3 cup olive oil, as needed

Salt and pepper to taste

For the pasta: With one cup of the flour, make a small well on a very clean countertop or cutting board. Crack the egg inside of the well, then slowly begin to mix the flour into the egg with a fork. Gradually integrate it until they form a sort of paste, then use your hand to slowly mix in the rest of the flour. Knead until the dough becomes an elastic ball, wetting hands with water as needed, about 10-15 minutes. Cover with a cloth and let rest half an hour. Repeat with other egg and flour and let rest. 

Roll out pasta in pasta machine according to manufacturer's instructions. It shouldn't be on the thinnest setting, but you should be able to see through it. Once you have cut the pasta sheets, hang on a drying rack or the back of a chair until dry but not brittle, about half an hour. Store at room temperature in an airtight container until ready to use.

For pesto: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Boil asparagus until just tender and bright green, about 30 seconds. Drain and rinse with cold water. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until still slightly chunky, 1-2 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente, 1-2 minutes. Mix with pesto and a dash of olive oil. Serve immediately, garnishing with additional parmesan cheese if desired. White wine optional. tagliatelle

$10 Mondays: Brown Butter Pasta with Brussels Sprouts

I LOVE brussels sprouts. After going through the obligatory hating-all-vegetables (except corn) as a child, I finally realized somewhere around the age of 12 that these little green cabbages are in fact, delicious -- particularly when braised in butter and with chopped bacon (optional). I eat them about once a week in the winter, usually just roasting them for 15 minutes with a dash of olive oil and hot pepper flakes, but when I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I knew it would be something else. I actually made these a couple of months ago for the first time as a side dish, which was wonderful but quite rich, and so the other night I had the idea to make it into a main course by removing some of the brussels sprouts and substituting them for pasta. An excellent, and inexpensive dinner if I do say so myself. Brown Butter Pasta with Brussels Sprouts (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1/2 lb brussels sprouts, halved and trimmed

8 oz pasta (such as fusilli or penne)

4 tablespoons butter

1 large shallot, finely sliced

3 tablespoons flour

2 1/2 cups chicken broth, hot

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and crushed

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Blanch brussels sprouts until tender and bright green, 3-5 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until browning at the edges, about 5 minutes. Cook until butter begins to turn brown and gives off a nutty aroma, about 5 minutes more. Whisk in flour and cook until mixture is light brown. Whisk in stock and cook until mixture thickens, about 8 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mix in brussels sprouts, and transfer all to a large roasting pan. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil water in a medium saucepan, and cook pasta until al dente, according to manufacturer's instructions. Drain and set aside.

Remove brussels sprouts from oven and mix in pasta. Serve immediately, garnishing with walnuts and parmesan cheese, if desired.

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Though I studied abroad in Bologna almost three years ago, sometimes it still feels like it's only been a few months. My favorite part of the whole experience was the cooking lessons we were lucky enough to take with Rita, an amazing woman who runs two restaurants in Sardinia and her own cooking school in Bologna. Every meal we made with her consisted of several courses, lots of wine, and wonderful conversation. I still remember learning how to debone a fish (she made it look effortless; it was in fact very difficult), create handmade pasta, and deep-fry artichokes. However, the recipe that sticks in my mind (particularly on cold January nights) is her tagliatelle all bolognese. In Italy, every grandmother has her own bolognese recipe, and each of them will insist that it's the best. This one is my favorite because it was the first I ever had. Rita told us that you know that a bolognese is done when no one flavor overpowers the others, and I think that this one creates a perfect harmony of creamy tomato, salty pancetta, and hearty beef. Also, if you ever see a recipe that instructs you to use spaghetti or fettucine, don't listen to them . True Bolognese know that the only way to serve their namesake sauce is with tagliatelle.

Rita's Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

1 lb tagliatelle (good quality dried noodles or handmade fresh pasta is best)

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 lb ground beef

2 oz pancetta or prosciutto, roughly chopped

1/4 white onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 rib celery, finely chopped

1 clove garlic

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup red wine

10 oz tomato sauce

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/3 cup beef or vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook the vegetables until soft, five to seven minutes. Crush the garlic with the side of your knife, leaving the skin on. Add the garlic and bay leaf to the pan and cook for one minute. Add the pancetta or prosciutto and cook until soft, two to three minutes. Increase the heat to medium and add the ground beef and brown, about five minutes. Pour in the wine and cook until it reduces slightly, then remove the garlic clove and the bay leaf and discard. Add the tomato sauce and paste, broth, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, covered, for an hour and a half or until all of the flavors have melded together.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions. Toss with ragù and serve with freshly grated parmigianno reggiano.